BOWL BONANZA

A look at where Texas teams (and LSU) will play in bowl games

Sam Ehlinger and the Longhorns will face Georgia. Richard Rodriguez/Getty Images

The bowl games are set, and the playoffs will feature Alabama vs. Oklahoma and Clemson vs. Notre Dame. But there are also six Texas schools and LSU playing in bowl games. Here is who they play, when they play and how the matchups look:

Saturday, Dec. 15

New Mexico Bowl (2 p.m., ESPN): North Texas vs. Utah State. North Texas finished off a 9-3 season with a win over UTSA and their reward is facing a very good Utah State team that went 10-2 and just missed out making the Mountain West title game. The Mean Green will be up against it. 

Saturday, Dec. 22

Armed Forces Bowl (3:30 p.m., ESPN): Houston vs. Army. The Cougars late collapse lands them in a difficult spot against a really good Army team. The Cougars will be without Ed Oliver against a team that can run the football. No D'Eriq King, either, which will make for a tough matchup for the Cougars.

Tuesday, Dec. 26

Cheez-It Bowl (9 p.m. ESPN): TCU vs. Cal. The Horned Frogs had a dissapointing season but  won their last two to garner bowl eligibilty and will look for a decent win over an improved Cal team.

Wednesday, Dec. 27

Texas Bowl (9 p.m., ESPN) Baylor vs. Vanderbilt. The Bears had a surprising season, earning bowl eligibilty on the last week of the season. They will face a Vanderbilt team they should be able to compete with.

Monday, Dec. 31

Taxslayer Bowl (6:30 p.m., ESPN): Texas A&M vs. NC State. The Aggies get a decent matchup with NC State after an eight win debut for Jimbo Fisher. This should be a good opportunity for the Aggies.

Tuesday, Jan. 1

Fiesta Bowl (1 p.m., ESPN): LSU vs. UCF. The Tigers get to be the Group of Five team that faces UCF this year. The Golden Knights will be without their starting QB, but they still thumped Memphis without him. An intriguing matchup.

Sugar Bowl (8:45 p.m., ESPN): Texas vs. Georgia. The Longhorns get a New Year's Six bowl despite losing in the Big 12 title game, and their reward is a Georgia team that might lack motivation considering they were close to making the playoff. 

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Martin Truex Jr. won his 2nd race of the season last week. Photo via: Wiki Commons.

NASCAR returns to the Commonwealth of Virginia for the Toyota Owners 400 at Richmond Raceway. This is the first of two races here at this track as they will race on Sunday afternoon. This will be different from the normal night race they usually have here as this will definitely affect the racing surface considering how much the sun could make the track slick. It should be a fun race come Sunday.

Last week, Martin Truex Jr. passed Denny Hamlin to capture his second win of the season after rain moved the race to Sunday. He became the first driver to win multiple races after a fierce battle with his teammate Denny Hamlin. The race was filled with tons of wrecks including a fifteen car pileup including Brad Keselowski and Kyle Busch. It was one of the better races of the season as there was lots of beating and banging.

The race was not without controversy but not the kind you would expect. Early in the race Rick Ware Racing teammates Cody Ware and James Davison were involved in an altercation. The two were battling towards the back of the pack when Ware decided to drive through his teammate in turn four. The race got much worse for Cody Ware as he was involved in three more cautions all throughout the race. Many people around the sport were quite perturbed by his antics including broadcaster Mike Joy as he was audibly annoyed after Ware spun out later in the race. Many have questioned if the fifth-year driver should even be in the car and overall I can understand why some of those people think that. In his five years of driving, he has finished on the lead lap one time. I hope that he is able to figure it out and find success in the future, but this was not a good look.

The slump continues for two-time champion Kyle Busch

Throughout the race, Busch was running okay for the most part but towards the closing laps of the race he and Chris Buescher got together triggering a fifteen car pileup. Despite all this, he was able to rebound to a respectable tenth place finish. This has been more than likely the toughest stretch of his career since his championship in 2019. Many would say that the omission of Practice and Qualifying has really affected his performance. Whatever the issue is, this team really needs to find some speed, or he could be in danger of missing the playoffs. I look for this team to bounce back considering how talented he is.

Prediction

The driver that I have winning this week is Kyle Larson. This has been an incredible rebound season for Larson as he currently sits fourth in points. He is also second in laps led only to Denny Hamlin. Richmond has been a great track for him as it fits his driving style perfectly as he can run the outside line and find grip where others can't. This track is also rather sentimental to him considering he won his first pole award here during his rookie season in 2014. While he may not have the results he would want he has always been extremely fast here and even won back in 2017. I look for him to capture his second victory of 2021 come Sunday.

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